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Family: Sapotaceae

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Asterids > Order: Ericales

About 53 genera and 1100 species with a pantropical distribution. Nine genera and 22 species are native to southern Africa and a further one genus and 13 species are cultivated in the region.

Genera native to southern Africa

List from Bredenkamp (2000).

Chrysophyllum

About 80 species, native mainly to the Neotropics but also to Africa, Madagascar, Asia and Australia. There are two species native to southern Africa. and an additional two species are cultivated in the region.

 

Englerophytum

About 5-10 species, native to tropical Africa, with two species native to southern Africa.

 

Inhambanella

Two species, one in West Africa, and the other, Inhambanella henriquesii (Milk pear) (see Flora of Zimbabwe), is native to East and southern Africa.

 

Manilkara

About 70 species, distributed in the tropics, with four species native to southern Africa and a further species that is cultivated in the region.

 

Mimusops

About 40 species, native to Africa, Madagascar, Mascarenes, Seychelles, Asia and the Pacific. Four species are native to southern Africa and a further four species are cultivated in the region.

 

Pouteria

About 50 species, native to tropical regions. One species is native to southern Africa and four species are cultivated in the region.

 

Sideroxylon

About 75 species, widely distributed but with most species (49) in the Neotropics. The only species native to southern Africa is Sideroxylon inerme (White Milkwood) (see Flora of Zimbabwe). In addition, Sideroxylon foetidissimum (Acoma, Mast wood, Tortuga amarillo) (native from Florida to Belize) is cultivated in the region.

Sideroxylon inerme

Synsepalum

Twenty species worldwide (tropical Africa), of which four species are native to southern Africa.

 

Vitellariopsis

Six species, native to East and southern Africa with three species in southern Africa.

 

Other genera, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002). The species name is provided in genera that have only one species represented in southern Africa.  

Argania spinosa (Argan tree)

Native to Morocco and Algeria. Bears hard, green olive-like fruit within which is a single seed. Argan oil is cold-pressed from the seeds and is used in a similar way to olive oil (e.g. cooking, frying, in salads). Argan oil is also used as a carrier oil to dilute essential oils used in aromotherapy, and is also used in cosmetics (van Wyk 2005).

 

Publications

  • Bredenkamp, C.L. 2000. Sapotaceae. In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 506-508. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • van Wyk, B.-E. 2005. Food Plants of the World - Identification, Culinary Uses and Nutritional Value. Briza, Pretoria.

 

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